The former US president Gerald Ford has died, aged 93. Praised by George W Bush for his integrity and common sense, Ford took office in 1974 after Richard Nixon resigned to avoid impeachment over the Watergate scandal. A former Republican congressman, he had been made Nixon’s deputy a year earlier when Spiro Agnew resigned over corruption charges. He was the only US leader not elected to either the presidency or vice presidency.
He took office, vowing “our national nightmare is over” but a month later he stunned America by granting Nixon a “full, free and absolute pardon” for any crime he may have committed in office.
He served for two and half years with a style often mocked as bumbling. Ford was in office when the US accepted defeat in Vietnam, with the fall of Saigon in 1975. His term also included two assassination attempts.
In 1976 he lost one of the closest elections in American history to Democrat Jimmy Carter. Following a stroke in 2000, Ford slipped further from the limelight.
His wife Betty became a national figure in her own right for her work against alcohol and drug addiction.